The goal of Breakthrough Energy is to make sure that everyone on the planet can enjoy a good standard of living, including basic electricity, healthy food, comfortable buildings, and convenient transportation, without contributing to climate change. Our strategy links cutting-edge, government-funded research to patient, risk-tolerant capital so that more clean energy innovations get to market faster.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition created Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an investor-led fund, to build the new, cutting-edge companies that will deliver on that promise.
Like the Coalition, the Fund brings together individuals with the capital, the commitment, and the relationships to navigate the exceptionally complex process of developing and deploying breakthrough energy technologies. Our goal is to generate a financial return on our investments, each of which will have the potential of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We know that doing so requires creativity and flexibility, and we are eager to operate in novel ways to help pioneer energy solutions for the future.
Our first investing principle is to leverage innovation as broadly as possible. We don’t limit ourselves to early- or late-stage companies; to small, medium, or large enterprises; or to particular geographies or technologies.
One of the biggest challenges to investing in solutions to climate change is scale: things like agriculture, housing, and transportation that emit greenhouse gases operate at scales vastly larger than other human activities. As a result, fully deploying new technologies will take decades, not years. Given this timeline, it is critical not just to respond to today’s circumstances but also to anticipate tomorrow’s urgent needs.
Due to the massive scale of human energy consumption, progress in small increments isn’t enough. We will only invest in technologies with the potential to reduce at least half a gigaton of greenhouse gases every year, about 1 percent of projected 2050 global emissions.
We do not have the resources to solve the entire global energy challenge on our own. We will only invest in companies that we believe can ultimately attract additional investment from investors.
Because the time to market in clean tech is so long, it is important to vet projects carefully at an early stage. We will only invest in projects that our technologists deem scientifically feasible at scale.
Clean tech is a somewhat neglected space, but certain aspects of it have attracted significant interest already. We will focus on areas and on enterprises to which we can add value through our patience, flexibility, and global network.